Subway cell service technology helpful to MetroCard replacement

The company bringing cellular and wireless service to underground subway stations will use their technology to bolster the future replacement for the MetroCard, an action the MTA board approved Wednesday.

Transit Wireless is working with the MTA to wire the next fare payment system to the network that has let riders at some stations use cellphones underground. The MTA wants to launch the new system in 2019. The agency hasn’t determined what the next system will be yet.

Using the Transit Wireless’ technology “will result in significant schedule acceleration, cost savings, increased reliability and enhanced information security,” MTA board materials said.

While the cost to the MTA is being negotiated, Transit Wireless proposed $23 million to connect fare payment areas at all 277 underground stations and $400,000 a month for use of their network.

To connect the systems, Transit Wireless would run fiber optic cables to subway platform entrances so that payments using the next fare payment technology can be sent over their network to NYC Transit.

The MTA’s latest emergency and information communication system, called Help Points, will also benefit from Transit Wireless technology by having the company help install the devices

While Transit Wireless is working in the subway system, they could provide “some connectivity for us for our needs, Help Point intercoms, new fare payment system,” MTA chief Tom Prendergast said. “This is just an avenue for us to be able to use their network as a communication medium.”